Chili Mac and Cheese: My boyfriend loves this recipe so much that we end up making it like twice a month.
In addition to the main dishes, you might want to buy sides like canned veggies, rice, or mashed potatoes (I use the box of powder and I’m not ashamed of it).
Depending on how many leftovers I have, I either make the fourth meal late in the week, or save it for Sunday night. If you have any questions, suggestions, or experiences you would like to share about feeding yourself while in college, comment below!
Sarah is the Engagement Editor for F Newsmagazine as well as a graduate student in Modern and Contemporary Art History at SAIC. If you've ever wanted a chiseled six-pack or a flat, defined set of abs, you HAVE to be focusing on the rectus abdominis. To commemorate this glorious, Drake-infused occasion, we've whipped up the Ultimate Summer 2016 Playlist.
For me, this all started with Instagram, which has basically become one giant #fitspiration app.
I wanted an easy way to maintain my clean diet that didn’t require a ton of time, but still yielded results.
There are all sorts of theories out there about what kinds of foods you should include in your prep. Sautee vegetables lightly in coconut oil instead of frying to blast fat and up your metabolism. Steam squash and pull it apart gently with a fork to replace traditional pasta for a gluten-free or paleo alternative. Mix fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, garlic, and even grated carrots and zucchini into ground meat dishes for succulent and moist proteins. Cooler — Some health and fitness enthusiasts advocate keeping your meals in a cooler so that they stay fresh until you’re ready to eat.
Crock Pot or Slow Cooker — If you work long hours or have a busy schedule, a Crock Pot is definitely a must-have for your kitchen.
Oven Safe Pans and Dishes — When I first started eating clean, I ate A LOT of baked chicken breast.
Start Small — You don’t need to plan every single meal for every single day of the entire week.
Cook In Bulk — If you’re making chicken for four lunches and three dinners that week, cook them in the same pan. Don’t let the thought of a messy and chaotic kitchen keep you from prepping your meals all at once.
You have the energy to cook one day out of the week, if you’re lucky, and that might result in lunch the next day. I usually have two or three super-easy-to-pre-make meals that I buy the ingredients for once a month or once every 3 weeks. Once a month I go to the freezer section and buy as many cheap frozen fruits as I can (mango, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.) plus some bananas and granola. You know, the ones you can buy for like $2.00 and just pop in the microwave whenever you are feeling lazy?
I always spend at least two hours every Sunday researching fun recipes for the week and grocery shopping.

After you’ve found three or four recipes, write your grocery list down or use a listing app like Wunderlist.
Usually I just eat some cereal or a granola bar, but I’m evading my homework at the moment. It makes a huge pot of food, so we usually cook and eat it Sunday night, but have leftovers for at least 3 lunches.
I probably won’t make this recipe until Tuesday Night and eat the leftovers Wednesday for lunch.
It you are feeling adventurous you can also search for side recipes online, but I can really only manage one (sort of) fancy thing cooking at a time. Since I usually cook things that can be mixed together, I put everything into one glass container (so I can microwave it) and take it downtown with me. Compared to carbs and fat, gram for gram protein is the most satiating macronutrient out there. Hydrating, vitamin-rich, and loaded with antioxidants, they’re packed with nutrients that heal the body after a hard workout and boost immunity to prevent disease. Whole-grain, fiber rich starches are absolutely essential to your meal prep and maintaining energy levels throughout the day. In the mornings before work, you can easily put chicken, beef, or your favorite protein in it with a low-calorie liquid (think low sodium chicken broth) for an awesome braise that will be ready by the time you come home. Rice cookers are another fairly inexpensive tool to cook rice that requires minimal effort to operate. There’s (almost) nothing worse than when you’re in the middle of a meal prep session only to find that you’re missing an important ingredient.
It might take some getting used to at first, but once you’ve developed a consistent system that works for you, you’ll definitely enjoy the convenience of this meal planning strategy.
Devoted to democratizing health, Taji believes that anyone CAN live a healthy lifestyle regardless of medical condition, career, budget or other secondary factors. After that, you find yourself buying expensive salads from Pret and running to Naf Naf every other day. Right now I have about 15 separate bags of various fruits for smoothies and 12 homemade burritos in my freezer. Well, turns out, making them yourself and freezing them is WAY cheaper, and they taste so much better. It might seem like a long time to spend, but you will be grateful later in the week when you come home starving and out of energy.
My go-to sides are usually asparagus (just trim the stems and heat the stalks in a pan with some olive oil), canned green beans or blacked eyed peas (you can probably tell I’m from the South), or zucchini (pan and olive oil again).
It’s really not that much time if you take just an hour to eat and cook once on Sunday and twice throughout the week. Even though I have to carry the Tupperware and find a microwave on campus, I save about $200 a month not buying lunch downtown. Meal prepping is the NEW fast food for health-conscious clean eaters. Tackle the basics with our simple, easy to understand guide to meal prepping like a pro.
Besides being slightly jealous of their shiny plastic containers filled with yummy, lean food, I was inspired by these photos to start my own meal prep.
Feel free to make substitutions as needed if you follow a diet that’s raw, vegan, gluten-free, pescatarian, etc.

Protein also helps build lean muscle, burn fat (through thermogenesis), and replenish your muscles after an intense weight-bearing workout.12 How much you’ll need depends on your caloric requirements and performance goals, but for most people, aim for at least 15 grams per meal. Leafy greens like spinach, kale, bok choy, fresh parsley, cilantro, collard greens, and tons of other veggies are fantastic choices. With plastic containers, you can easily take food from fridge to microwave to meal time in a few minutes. If you work at an office, chances are you have access to a fridge where you can store your food. Scavenge the internet and you’ll find thousands of recipes for really innovative meals that are clean and lean. Bottom line, figure out what you’re going to eat that week and what basic meals you’re going to rotate around.
Instead of always eating pork and quinoa, try adding cilantro, beans sprouts, and snow peas for an Asian inspired stir fry. Besides contributing to Lean it UP, Taji has been published for her health and fitness advice in journals like Thought Catalog.
On the weekends I eat leftovers and also splurge and go out to eat once or twice with my friends.
Great sources of animal protein include chicken, beef, pork, seafood, low fat cottage cheese, and whey protein powders. Also don’t be afraid of non-green veggies like bell peppers, carrots, mushrooms, cabbage, etc.
The convenience of plastic containers is honestly why meal prepping for the week has become such a practical strategy for eating right and staying on track.
When you come home from work, simply turn your rice cooker on and within 30-60 minutes you should have fluffy and perfectly cooked rice. If you know that you’re going to be consuming eight meals that each include ? a cup of rice, cook all four cups at once. With all the different proteins, carbs, and veggies you’re preparing, there are a ton of different combinations you can make to keep you from getting bored (and maintain a variety of nutrients in your diet). Taji has been supported by numerous health and fitness companies such as Navitas Naturals, Glutino, and Holystic Hut.
I made 20 to 30, popped them in the freezer, and now I take them for lunch or whenever I’m not feeling like putting in any effort. After many attempts and several weeks of totally failed meal prep, I’ve finally figured out a fool-proof strategy, including what foods to eat, lean cooking techniques, and the right equipment to simplify the process. Use this guide to quickly AND easily prep for an entire week of clean eats. Use our guide for a complete list of protein foods, including the top options for vegetarians and vegans. Challenge yourself to see how many different meals you can make with only a handful of ingredients. Don’t start out with anything complicated — the simpler recipes usually taste better anyway.
If you’re a serial recipe-follower, here are five delicious smoothie recipes from Live Simply.

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